The fisherwomen of Tahiti (1891; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

The fisherwomen of Tahiti - Paul Gauguin - 1891; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleThe fisherwomen of Tahiti
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1891; French Polynesia
Art MovementCloisonnism
Current LocationAlte Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany

About The fisherwomen of Tahiti

“The Fisherwomen of Tahiti” is an artwork created by the French artist Paul Gauguin in 1891, inspired by his time in French Polynesia. This oil on canvas painting is a prime example of the Cloisonnism art movement, known for its bold outlines and flat planes of color. As a genre painting, it reflects everyday life and activities. The artwork is currently housed at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin, Germany.

The artwork presents a vibrant and colorful scene of Tahitian life, focusing on the local fisherwomen engaged in their daily task of sorting and preparing fish. Gauguin’s interpretation of the figures and their environment is characterized by the use of strong lines and deliberate, flat applications of color, elements typical of Cloisonnism. The painting suggests not just the physical activities of the Tahitian women but also conveys a sense of their culture and the lush, tropical atmosphere of the island.

In the foreground, a figure is prominently seated, her legs crossed and her expression one of deep thought or contemplation, gazing directly at the viewer. Other women are busily engaged with the fish, showcasing various stages of work and cooperation. The use of vivid colors and stylized, almost abstract, representation of the figures and landscape speaks to Gauguin’s move away from the naturalism of European painting towards a more symbolic and expressive mode of representation. The lush greenery typical of the Tahitian landscape provides the backdrop to this scene, while another figure stands in the background, perhaps observing or taking a break from the labor. Overall, the artwork encapsulates the essence of Tahitian life through the eyes of Gauguin, executed with the distinctive style that has come to be associated with his oeuvre.

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